Spelman College — Goal 2 Initiative SpelREADS

Spelman College’s partnership with Atlanta Public Schools aims to increase and accelerate tutoring services to K-12 students. SpelREADS, a literacy program launched in 2018, links Spelman students to elementary and middle school students as reading guides. In addition to tutoring, students use a literacy tools (like BookNook) to increase their digital literacy skills and interaction with literacy technology.

The program bridges academic gaps for students by providing reading support and addresses critical benchmarks in the children’s education. Given that professional demands do not always allow educators to give extra attention to students who need it, the SpelREADS program provides that one-on-one support and test prep to improve academic performance, particularly in reading and comprehension, for participating students. With stronger foundations in reading, these students are more likely to succeed in future academic pursuits and as adults.  

With additional external funding, Spelman plans to increase the size of its ongoing program in the coming year.  

Initiative Differentiators

As one of the most popular community initiatives on campus, SpelREADS allows Spelman students to make connections to the local education system, particularly young students. Spelman tutors provide an extra sense of encouragement and confidence to the young learners while gaining valuable interactions with the community.  

In the coming year, the expansion of SpelREADS will allow more Spelman students to serve as tutors which will increase the number of elementary and middle schools that can benefit from the program.  

Key Interventions and Milestones

The main activities of the initiative include increasing the size of student tutor cohort; increasing number of schools/students with access to tutors; and measuring initial and follow-up reading assessment scores to determine level of progress/improvement.  

To date, the program achieved its highest gains during the 2018-2019 school year among members of the 7th grade class who scored 20 percent higher than those who were not enrolled in the program.  

Expected Impact

The initiative will reach a wide range of K-12 students and engage an increasing number of Spelman students to get involved. SpelREADS aims to increase educational gains for K-12 students, measured by assessment scores (as compared to those students not enrolled in the program).